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In Summary (March 23, 2010 12:45am)

Posted by oxoraonline on March 29, 2010

Health cares bill may cut deeper for Democrats and Republicans

While President Obama prepares to sign off on reforms that will change US health care as we know it, the bill–which was passed by the House of Representatives on last week– may widen the rift between the Democratic and Republican party. 11 state attorneys have threatened to take legal action that would keep certain aspects of the bill from being implemented and are supported by conservative activists. While Democrats are hailing this as a resurgence in the beliefs of President’s Obama’s effectiveness in his presidency, they are also hoping that the implementation of the bill will aid them come mid-term elections in November.

However, many Republicans expressed their dissent towards the bill even before it was signed, claiming that it infringes on citizens’ constitutional rights. The health care bill was bound to cause conflict– it is the first piece of legislation to pass without a single vote of support from the opposition (the Republican party) in40years.The biggest issue for Republicans? The excessive costs of the package. With the 2010 congressional elections coming, this bill signals a significant loss for the Republican party. However, in the wake of it, we can expect that both parties will be taking partisan lobbying to a new level.

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In Summary

Posted by oxoraonline on March 18, 2010

Facebook > Google ? (March 17, 2010 2: 27 AM)

In a year of exponential growth, Facebook has the honor of being more popular than Google in terms of clicks by US users. The research firm Hitwise released a study that showed the two sites accounted for 14% of all US internet visits in the previous week, with Facebook’s homepage having 7.07% to Google’s 7.03% of all traffic.

Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

The significance of this small lead is that it is the first time Facebook has enjoyed a weekly lead over Google, signify the Internet’s primary function may be shifting—from information to communication. This is clear from Google’s attempt to launch Buzz to combat the social networking aspect of Facebook. Much of Buzz’s functions—status updates, picture hosting, user comments—overlapped those of Facebook and another popular social network tool, Twitter.

Google Inc.

Image via Wikipedia

However, Buzz was not nearly as popular as Google hoped, with most still preferring Facebook. The latter’s membership has gone from 200 million in April 2009 to more than 400 million in February 2010.  Additionally, studies that US users spend upt0 6.5 hours on social networking sites compared to less than 2.5 hour on Google.

While social networking sites have been known to experience sudden drops in popularity, Facebook’s growth and user trajectory—from just about 2% of traffic last year to the aforementioned above 7% this year—heralds a movement that indicates more and more people are spending time on the Internet to be with each other, as opposed to themselves.

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In Summary

Posted by oxoraonline on March 18, 2010

Seal of the Board of Governors of the United S...

Image via Wikipedia

US Fed Bank: Happy days to be here again soon? (March 17, 2010 1:16 AM)

Is the Fed trying to use optimism to keep morale high about the US economy? That is what some think after the US central bank used favorable, but somewhat unfounded, language to describe the markets.

Referring to the labor market as “stabilizing” and characterizing business spending as having “risen significantly,” the Federal Reserve then contradicted the indications of their words but not putting forth any change in their monetary policy or in the 0-0.25% interest rates.

These optimistic words may prove to be just that—Feb observers, who have watched chairman Ben Bernanke tread water on announcing the intent to tighten monetary policy, noted that with the threat of inflation at bay for now, the central bank was under no duress to change monetary policy. However the announcement is not insignificant—the change in language used to describe the economic outlook can be a precursor to announcements in policy amendments.

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In Summary

Posted by oxoraonline on March 12, 2010

Toyota’s Woes Launch a Formal Look into Safety Standards (March 11, 2010 9:27PM EST)

David Strickland, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that his department will be taking strict and probing look into the safety standards set. They will also look to update the technology and information they base the standards on, some of which was created in the 60’s and 70’s and is no longer relevant with the advent of modern machine production. However, this might be hindered by the lack of funds, stressed Strickland.

However, a senator brought up the claim that the failure to properly ascertain and halt the problems with Toyota by the NHTSA might also be due to ineptitude. Strickland defended his administrations claims that they were slow and sluggish to respond as well as those that said the NHTSA was merely a “lapdog” of the auto industry. He pointed out that the NHTSA sent members to Japan after the first few claims and launched eight investigations at the outset of the incident reports regarding Toyota.

But Strickland’s assertions were somewhat negated when a former member, Joan Claybrook testified that the agency was understaffed, under-funded and was not in the position to reprimand or exercise influence over automakers’ decisions. The Toyota investigation has shed light on the faults of the NHTSA and might lead to a drastic redefining of the division and its responsibilities in order to assure efficiency in the future.

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Oscar Nominations and Awards Can Promote (Show) Business

Posted by oxoraonline on March 12, 2010

For actors and actresses nominated for an Academy Award, titling will neverbe the same again. Henceforth, whether they win or not, they will always be referred to as Oscar Nominee Joe Smith or Oscar Winner Jane Doe. Not only do they receive the accolades and respect that comes with the recognition, but often can demand a steep rise in pay.

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In Summary XS

Posted by oxoraonline on March 9, 2010

General Electric Company

Image via Wikipedia

What: Plans to implement a smoking ban on all of its property

Where: All GE property, both outdoors and indoors (including America, where the ban has already been implemented)

Why does it matter: With half of GE’s 304,000 employees located outside the US, this is a big step for a company to take towards social and health concerns for its employees. Given that nowadays, smoking is looked at as a negative behavior that harms others as well as oneself, this is GE exercising its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). This is a growing trend as many company recognize the implementation of a smoking ban as a simple and effective way of promoting health within the workplace. While smoking rates have declined in the US, this is especially topical in Asian countries such as India and China, where more than 50% and 30% of men smoke, respectively and parts of Europe, where smoking does not hold the taboo that it does in the US.

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Link of the Day

Posted by oxoraonline on March 4, 2010

Follow Oxora on Twitter (@oxora) by clicking the link on the right hand column. We post daily links to the most interesting articles, videos and stories. It is also a great way to get in touch with us and give us your feedback!

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In Summary

Posted by oxoraonline on March 4, 2010

Adversity Index gives good indication for US Metropolitan areas (Mar. 1, 2010 11:39PM EST)

According to an Adversity Index study run by a website called Moody’s Economy, nearly half of metropolitan areas in the US have begun recovery. Out of 384 metros, 183 (43%) have started recovery—however, this doesn’t mean that they are on par with their growth prior to the recession, merely that they have been growing.

However, the news is not all good. 200 metros were still classified as “moderating recession” meaning that the economies were still shrinking, albeit at a slower rate. None of the largest metros, such as New York City, Miami or cities in California have moved past this level yet. One city—Las Vegas—is still in a full recession. Nevada, the state Las Vegas is located in, continues to be the only state in a recession, with 29 others states in the middle, “moderating recession” level and the remaining 20 in recovery. No metropolitan area or state is in the highest level of the classification, which is expansion.

On a monthly basis, the Adversity Index uses census and government-provided information about employment, production, housing prices and other indicators to evaluate each metro or state and place them in categories, from healthiest economies to least: Expansion; Moderating Recession, or in Full Recession.

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Start Up Visa starting something new

Posted by oxoraonline on February 27, 2010

(February 25, 2010 9:05 PM)

In a new bid to create jobs and encourage growth in the market, Senator John Kerry (Democrat—Massachusetts) and Senator Richard Lugar (Republican—Indiana) have put forth legislation that would give green card to immigrant entrepreneurs. The Start-Up Visa Act offers a two year visa to any entrepreneur who can raise $250,000 in venture capital to support their endeavor. It also offers permanent resident status should the company meet certain conditions: if they can create at least five jobs, raise $1 million or earn $1 million in sales. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Summary

Posted by oxoraonline on February 27, 2010

Hummer will soon have its last ride (Feb. 24, 2010 9:34 PM EST)

Who: Hummer producers GM

What about them: After the Chinese government regulations have rejected a $150 million bid by little-known manufacturers Tenzhong to buy the line, GM will stop producing Hummers.

Why does it matter: Firstly, the closing of the production of the Hummer, which has 153 dealers in the US, will put approximately 3,000 jobs at risk. These jobs run the gamut from factory workers to dealership owners. Secondly, this is the third failed sale attempted by the brand, which was restructured after declaring bankruptcy last year. Backed by $50 million in US taxpayer’s money, the restructuring is clearly not going as successfully as hoped. Thirdly, the Hummer deal falling through is a setback for GM as it is trying to lucratively rid itself of less successful brands and focus on its four core car lines—Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.

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